Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival: 5 Rappers to Watch For


Known as a smarter, more underground "Rock The Bells" and praised for its hyper-locality, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is one of New York City's can't-miss rap acts of the summer. With backing from neighborhood businesses and the Brooklyn Bodega initiative, the BK Hip-Hop Fest invades Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 5 once a year to celebrate community, culture and of course, all things hip-hop. Lineups are usually built around one Golden Age legend with plenty of surprise appearances on tap.

This year's schedule looks a little different, with the festival bringing in three high-profile acts to share the stage. Chances are you know the headliners Pusha T., Redman and EPMD, but only checking out the nightcap would be a crime. Saturday's lineup features some of Brooklyn's most touted up-and-comers, including a few emcees who look to be on the verge of blowing up.

Make the most of your $20 ticket and spend your Saturday to the fullest by reading up on five of the daytime acts.

1. Dillon Cooper

After dropping his Cozmik mixtape at the end of last month, Dillon Cooper has plenty of momentum to check for Saturday. Slated at the 2:15 spot, Cooper drops introspective rhymes over everything from hazy jazz riffs to synth heavy "I made it" beats. He sounds something like a lost member of Brooklyn's Pro Era.

Not everything's serious for the 19-year-old Crown Heights product. His proclivity for weed raps, his light flow and his knack for relatable hooks ("no time for BS" he chants on Cozmik's "I Ain't Havin It") make for some charismatic party music, while his freestyles on Mobb Deep's "Survival of the Fittest" and Outkast's "Ms. Jackson" both live up to the beats' high expectations.

Though he's new to the hip-hop game, Cooper's a self-trained guitarist who attended the world-renowned Berklee School of Music at just 17 on scholarship. Now dropped out and ready to turn up the afternoon stage on Saturday, you can't help but think that this kid's about to get big.

2. Danse

Captaining the BKLYN STICKUP movement, Danse is all about cutting the oversaturation in hip-hop and bringing the genre back to its gritty roots. No better place than Brooklyn. A college graduate with street hustle, Danse and the BKLYN STICKUP crew have been on a stead ascent over the past year.

Danse (or Danse Daimons) is heavily influenced by a Jadakiss, LOX-type flow and has been featured in XXL's "The Break." Will he be breaking out soon? Danse holds down a 20-minute set at 2:50.

3. DyMe-A-DuZin

DyMe has garnered buzz as one of the frontmen of Brooklyn collective Phony Ppl, but as a solo artist, he packs more rappity-rap punch than his jazzy bandmates. DuZin's quick flow and poignant subject matter make him a great listen, and as an opener for Talib Kweli and Buckshot he's becoming a neighborhood favorite.

Going on at 3:35, DyMe's worth catching. The kid's a natural entertainer. After all, he calls himself "Swank Sinatra."

4. F. Stokes

With a bushy beard and a trans-city success story, it's hard to forget F. Stokes. Born in the South Side of Chicago and relocated to Madison, Wis. at a young age, Stokes now resides in NYC and was recently featured on MTV. His new EP Love, Always is now on iTunes.

"Make some noise if you're from a town with less than 100 thousand people," begins "My Simple." While he looks to be blowing up quickly, Stokes' hometown loyalty and blue-collar mentality make him popular with various demographics. After Yeezus and MCHG have dominated airwaves this summer, some humble music could do us all some good. He goes on at 3:50.

5. Dizzy Wright

One of the bill's bigger names, Wright's already toured around the nation as part of Hopsin's Funk Volume label. Like his white-eyed leader, Dizzy's a DIY youngster who's SmokeOut Conversations mixtape was downloaded over 100 thousand times on server DatPiff.

Wright's not just a weed rapper though. Songs like "Nobody's Teaching the Game" and "Independent Living" highlight his work ethic and vibrant personality. He's held down his own shows and should get a considerable audience for his 4:05 set.

You can hear the influence of one of his favorite acts, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. After receiving the popular vote to join XXL's freshman class of '13, Wright is set to release a 90s-themed The Golden Age mixtape soon.